Concerned about inadvertently stuffing the stockings with lead or other dangerous metals and chemicals? The Maryland Public Interest Research Group has just the study for you.
Its "Trouble in Toyland" report -- the 28th annual toy-safety survey by U.S. PIRG and its state affiliates -- warns people to "be wary when shopping this holiday season." Though researchers have seen improvements over the years, they're still finding problems ranging from high levels of lead to choking hazards.
"Federal regulation has made toys safer, but there's more to be done to protect Maryland's littlest consumers," said Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG's director.
Jenny Levin, who splits her time between Maryland PIRG and U.S. PIRG, wrote the report.
Among the products found in a survey of national toy stores, mall stores and dollar stores this fall:
• Several toys with lead levels far above the legal limit, plus "an infant play mat with high levels of the toxic metal antimony, and a child's pencil case with high levels of phthalates and cadmium."
• Toys so loud they could harm kids' ears
• Magnets so small and powerful they "pose a dangerous threat to children if swallowed."
Go to marylandpirg.org/reports/mdp/trouble-toyland-2013 to see the report and announcement.